2022 Philippine Elections

Soldiers intercept over 300 suspected flying voters in Lanao del Sur

Froilan Gallardo
Soldiers intercept over 300 suspected flying voters in Lanao del Sur

INSPECTION. A soldier asks to see the IDs of commuters at a checkpoint in Barangay Pawak, Saguiaran on Sunday, May 8.

Froilan Gallardo/Rappler

'We began to suspect these people when all of them claimed they were cooks. The numbers do not add up. There were too many cooks in one place,' says Brigadier General Jose Cuerpo, chief of the Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade

MARAWI CITY, Philippines – Army soldiers stopped more than 300 suspected flying voters in Lanao del Sur province and sent them back home on Sunday, the eve of the May 9 elections.

At a checkpoint in the village of Pawak, Saguiran town, soldiers flagged down 20 vans since Saturday, May 7, and the passengers could not show any proof of identification, said Lieutenant Colonel Don Villanueva, commander of the Army’s 55th Infantry Battalion.

“The vans were full of passengers who could not show identification cards or voters’ IDs,” Villanueva said.

Brigadier General Jose Cuerpo, chief of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, said authorities anticipated many flying voters or voters with fictitious addresses hired by local politicians to commit election fraud and increase their winning chances.

ID CHECK. Passengers in a car show a soldier their IDs at a checkpoint in Barangay Pawak, Saguiaran on Sunday, May 8. Authorities have set up checkpoints on roads leading to Marawi and Lanao del Sur, and are keeping an eye on flying voters. – Froilan Gallardo/Rappler

In Buadi-Puso town, soldiers found 80 suspected flying voters hiding inside a Madrasah.

Cuerpo said Army soldiers and the police also rounded up 50 people with no identification cards in Balindong town.

He said they were sent home to Baloi town where they claimed to have come from.

“We began to suspect these people when all of them claimed they were cooks. The numbers do not add up. There were too many cooks in one place,” Cuerpo said. – Rappler.com

Froilan Gallardo is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.